I remember when my to-do list was simply a written Sticky Note.
Every morning I’d come into the office, jot down what I needed to get done that day/week and then start at it. However, not everything would always get done. I’d push something off because I didn’t want to do it, and then Friday would arrive without me having completed it. I’d find other things to do or get distracted by email. Slowly, things would compound. It finally reached a tipping point last fall and I knew something needed to change.
So, over the past six months I have changed my way of doing things. It took time to adjust, to get rid of my Sticky Note to-do list and get onboard with my new system. But I had the realization yesterday that I can’t imagine going back to the way I did things. My life was changed by two words: Google Calendar.
I have left my paper calendar and fully transitioned over to a digital version. It took time, but now everything, from my work day tasks to even my personal events and to-dos, resides in my Google Calendar. Ask me if I want to get dinner and I’ll pull up the app. Ask me to write a story and I’ll add it to the next free spot I have. It has been great as tasks pop up at work to give them a home in my schedule; now I not only know they need to get done, but I know when I will have time to do them. Plus, since it’s digital, I can drag and drop things, shifting them around as needed without scribbling out my notes and making one messy calendar.
With this new strategy, I feel like I’m tackling each day more effectively and efficiently. It’s given me a clear vision of what my next 24 hours looks like, helping me to make decisions that will in turn help me achieve the goals and tasks I’ve set out to do. I don’t just pick “What does Heather feel like doing today?” I listen to my calendar and obey what it says — adjusting when needed, of course, because not being flexible can be a detriment. It has even given me relief to see how much time I actually have; honestly, I think my stress has decreased because the chaos has decreased.
Now, I know your days fluctuate. There’s a lot going on in running that rec center of yours and you might not be able to plan out your day like I have. But I invite you to try for two weeks; that’s what I did at first, and here I am six months later. Each day, take 30 minutes to look at tomorrow. Think about what you have to do and plan out when you’re going to do it. Even write down when you’re going to eat, call your friend or finish that project.
Just give it a try and see what happens. You might be surprised at how organized and efficient you feel.